Seasoning the melting pot

Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Courtesy: 
Waterbury Republican-American
Waterbury, CT

Black History Month offers a piece of American history's tapestry

Authored by James Gatling, President & CEO of New Opportunities Inc.

History's visionaries have always shaped mankind's horizons. The United States was created by men and women who recognized freedom as the nation's "common inheritance." America's evolution, from Plymouth Rock to Barack Obama, has proven no race possesses creativity's copyright.

America's melting pot has always been seasoned by its black citizens, just as our culinary traditions have been flavored by palettes from around the world. Recognizing the achievements of black citizens burnishes our nation's accomplishments because American history demonstrates mankind's kinship.

Noted educator and author Dr. Carter G. Woodson launched the Black History movement after recognizing the achievements of black Americans were missing from American history texts. While the road to equality has been bumpy for many races in this land of immigrants, a litany of blacks were instrumental in helping create America's rich heritage.

A sampling includes the open-heart surgical techniques devised by medical pioneer Dr. Daniel Hale Williams, and the electronic patents of Dr. Mark Dean that launched the development of personal computers.

Joe Oliver and Louis Armstrong created jazz, while inventor George Crum gave birth to the snack food industry. International legal precedents established by Supreme Court Justices Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas have impacted millions throughout the world, while the friendship shared by Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln helped establish legal precedents that remain the gold standard of constitutional law.

Thousands of unsung, local heroes also advance mankind's hopes in the communities they serve. Local luminaries such as Boswell Trowers, King David Holmes, Kay Wyrick, Horace Green, Frank Moore, Wallace Hooker, Caroline Watts, Luther Gatling, Maurice Mosley, Patricia Mayfield, Hubie Williamson, Anthony Carter, Jonathan Reed, Tom Mallory, John West, Reginald Beamon, Larry Butler, Joseph Jaynes, Gary Franks, Myrtle Green, Lyda Wright, Cicero Booker Sr. and Cicero Booker Jr. represent a portion of those who've graced Waterbury's history through their diligent dedication to society's advancement.

Black History Month merely provides a place and platform to showcase a particular people's trials and triumphs. Black history is part of American history. And that's something everyone can celebrate. These African-Americans simply distinguished themselves in service to their race. The human race.

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